The 5 most valuable skills for a customer facing technical support/help desk role

The 5 most valuable skills for a customer facing technical support/help desk role

#1 Being social

 I’m putting this as the top spot because this is so utterly important.  I have had so many customer service agents (CSAs) that have hated their lives in support because they are not social people.  CSAs need a love for chatting, not only for their sanity but also to make customers feel connected to the vendor.  A great support relationship with the customer all starts with CSAs that genuinely want to talk to them.

#2 An innate ability to empathize

Most customers contacting you are typically not impressed with you in some way.  The ability to empathize, listen and lead the customer back to that happy place is truly a beautiful skill to behold.  A truly exceptional CSA can take those customers who want to burn your company to the ground back to a place of calm.  They do this by putting themselves in the customer’s shoes and identifying how to make them happy.

 #3 Technical writing

This part is overlooked a lot, but its importance is 3rd on my list.  Speaking to customers directly we dealt with on #1, #2, but the ability to take complex technical issues and write them down in a simple way goes a long way and takes many years of practice.  A good rule of thumb: If your grandma can follow the steps you’ve written on how to resolve an issue, you are doing it right. Technical writing is also important for your support staff so they can start reusing and sharing solutions and eventually creating knowledge base articles for your entire customer base to find.  

#4 Peripheral technical knowledge

Everyone has a specialty in the technical world whether it be coding, databases, networking, etc… But what sets CSAs apart are those that have a little knowledge about everything.  Peripheral technical knowledge allows a CSA to be able to look at issues and go one direction or another when troubleshooting.  When hiring and making training programs, make sure you have those skills that are essential not just for the position but for the ability for them to troubleshoot themselves.  I.e. How to use your CRM, Excel, Wireshark, SQL programming skills, JavaScript skills, etc.

#5 Problem solving 

Technical knowledge in the support world is not good enough to be a great CSA.  CSAs need to be able to follow the breadcrumbs and logically deduce whether the problem is based on their knowledge or by trial an error on where to go.  Surprisingly, I find people with coding experience can make great CSAs.